ALAMEDA -- St. Joseph Notre Dame is adding another new weapon to its college preparatory arsenal. Beginning next August, a four-year biomedical sciences program will be available to incoming freshmen. St. Joseph's will be the only Catholic high school in the Bay Area offering the special-emphasis program.

"The curriculum is recognized by universities around the country," said Mary McInerney, St. Joseph's communications director. "It will be on students' transcripts and will give them a leg up in the competitive world of college admissions."

The course of study will be provided by Project Lead the Way, the leading provider of high school Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curricula in the United States, according to McInerney. St. Joseph's teachers will receive special training in the material.

In addition to classroom experience, students will have the opportunity to learn from experts in hands-on internships at hospitals and research facilities during their senior year, McInerney said.

The biomedical sciences program will provide an excellent background for students who are interested in becoming nurses, doctors, veterinarians, biomedical engineers, laboratory technicians and researchers, according to Kristina Taylor, chair of St. Joseph's science department.

The school will host an information night at 7 p.m. Jan. 30. For more information, call 510-523-1526.